Kinect for Windows for $249 ... interested?

Can it make the leap from a piece of geekery to a mass market bit of kit?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has announced that it is bringing the Kinect motion sensing tool currently available for the Xbox 360 to the Windows platform.

The announcement was made on the Kinect for Windows blog:

Today, we are announcing that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of US $249.  Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors.  The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements. Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users.

A question you're probably wondering is why is Kinect for Windows more expensive than Kinect for the Xbox 360? Microsoft offers up several reasons for the $100 price hike:

  • Kinect for the Xbox 360 is subsidized by gaming environment around the platform - games, Xbox Live and so on
  • Kinect for the Xbox 360 is specifically designed for the 360 game console and is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform.

The software development kit (SDK) and runtime for the device will be made available for free and there will be no associated license fees payable. What there is no word on is software ... although I'm sure that we can expect games to follow, given the origin of the controller.

Kinect for Xbox 360 has sold 18 million units in the past year, which earned it a Guinness World Record for the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever. How well the Kinect for Windows will sell is hard to estimate. It's an interesting device for sure, but for now it seems more like a development tool than an actual consumer product. And unless Microsoft can come up with a centralized and curated way to bring Kinect for Windows owners into contact with Kinectified software then it's hard to see how this device will make the leap from a piece of geekery to a mass market bit of kit ... especially given the price tag!

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